This Oklahoma Funder Has Shifted From Education to Basic Needs and Local Parks

The George Kaiser Family Foundation is a huge philanthropic force in Tulsa and funds a wide range of local causes here. It’s a well-known early education supporter, but lately, GKFF support has been going in a few different directions too. Let’s take a closer look at what GKFF has been supporting around town.

Support for Land and Parks

Back in October, the foundation announced a $10 million pledge for land to construct a local children’s museum in a Tulsa park. GKFF awarded the matching grant opportunity to the River Parks Authority to build the Tulsa Children’s Museum Discovery Lab.

Other donors have since followed suit, including Richard and Mollie Williford, who donated $5 million for the park project. The $350 million park is known as the Gathering Place and the first phase of construction is scheduled to be complete in 2017.

Support for Human Services

At the close of 2015, GKFF made headlines for awarding $6.8 million to 66 local organizations. Most of this funding went towards human services organizations ($4.2 million). In contrast, health groups received $1.2 million and $1.4 million went to education groups.

“The organizations funded in this process provide critical services to tens of thousands of children and families in Tulsa who are in need of the basics in life, such as food, health care, shelter and education,” said Ken Levit, executive director of the foundation.

Related: Where have Kaiser’s Millions Been Going in Tulsa this Season?

Support for the Arts

The arts aren’t a huge area of giving for GKFF, but the foundation does support the local art scene. GKFF recently announced its Tulsa Arts Fellowship program, which will offer 30 new fellowships totaling over $1 million.

The fellowships cover stipends, free housing, and free workspace to grow the city’s art scene, and the opportunity was just extended to writers, as well. According to the foundation, “All fellowships are merit-based grants, not project grants, and fellows will be expected to integrate into the local community by participating in local programs, symposiums and more.”

The foundation recently won a Statewide Community Award for its support of the community, state, and charities focused on breaking the cycle of poverty. You can learn more about the George Family Foundation’s portfolio holdings on Octa Finance. For more information about this funder’s priorities, strategies, and approach to grantmaking, check out IP’s full profile: George Kaiser Family Foundation: Oklahoma Grants.